Monday, 14 June 2021

Water Filter with Filtech

Do you use a water filter in your home?

Our tap water is among the cleanest in the world. And even so, water filter in Singapore is common in many households. Getting a water filter very much depends if you are seeking to remove contaminants from  water or modify the components of water. These are the two broad categories of water filter.

We are currently using Filtech, Xeltro CT22 – Countertop Twin Water Filter, for cleaner and better-tasting water with its 7 Layer ultra twin filtration. It filtrates up to 99.99% of impurities, bacteria and chlorine, as well as, rust present in our water supply. While it is acclaimed that our water source may be clean, the pipes may not. Corrosion happens. The removal of rust present is water through pipes give a good peace of mind.

 

Filtech Water Filter

 

The 7 Layer Filtration Technology Filtech Technology uses to ensure clean and purified water:

1. The first filtration process begins with a 5mm thick ceramic filter engineered to filter large particles while preserving minerals intact.

2. A Far Infrared Ray (FIR) FIR layer is used to help soften hard water, eliminating offensive odors and preventing bacterial growth.

3. This ion exchange process percolates water through bead-like spherical resin materials (ion-exchange resins).

4. The anti-bacterial ions kill bacteria and deter bacterial growth by breaking down the bacterial cell membranes.

5. The alkaline medium raises the ph level of the water which aids in neutralising acid in your body.

6. The granular activated carbon incorporates absorption and catalytic reduction for purification efficiency.

7. This final stage utilizes Filtech’s micro-porous fibre membrane for further pervasive particle exclusion filtration.

 

Photo credit: Filtech
 

This water purifier set comes with a 3 mode-switch: Filtered, Unfiltered Shower and Unfiltered Stream. Unfiltered for your washing and filtered when you need your drink. 

Unfiltered Shower
 

Unfiltered Stream

 

Filtered

Though the manual that came with it was rather vague, the setting up was easy. It didn't specify how much initial water is needed to drain before water gets totally cleaned, but we drained about 2 litres for peace of mind. The initial flow of water was carbon black after which it gradually clears up.

This water purifier set costs $223.90, and comes with a one year warranty. Replace filter at $59.40, scheduled to replace every 8 months, 6000 litres. It is extremely important to replace it on schedule. Not doing so encourages the growth of bacteria in your filter, that's when safe clean water becomes a risk. 

Need an air purifier instead? You may check out Filtech too. Enjoy Free Delivery on all orders above $80. I will need a stock up on filter soon.

 

Disclaimer: Sponsored post


Monday, 24 May 2021

Resigning from a Stay at Home Mum

I have tendered my resignation from a stay at home mum. It's been 8 years staying home with the kids. It wouldn't have been this accidental if our family didn't re-locate to California, Monterey. That was when I left my last job to go as a family. Contributing in a corporate world had always been my ideal. I was all ready to embark onto a life of working mum when we returned from Monterey. But we had plans for a third child.

Which not long later, our eldest progressed into primary school. We realised it was tough to leave her transportation to the school bus. It meant extreme early wakes and late home arrivals. Gradually, I withdrew from the thoughts of going back to work, just so I could chauffeur, tutor, keep the house in order and put home cooked meals on the table. The desire of going back to work was always on the back of my mind. Just a matter of time.

Endlessly, tirelessly and uncomplainingly, I did these with no salary, no bonuses and no leaves, not even medical leaves. The purest form of love and sacrifice defined. These were not possible with deciding to live within the means of single income. We were prudent with our spending, we ate home more than out, and I banished the act of 'shopping' out of my world. After all, the needs of a stay at home mum are extremely down-to-earth. A few good dresses which I already have, and many inexpensive shorts and tees for working the chores in home.

When our second child made it to primary school too, I began to feel the morning void. CCAs kicked in and the kids spend more time in school than before. I knew I needed to be more useful with my personal self. No, blogging and social media-ing are not jobs. They are hobbies. And just last year end, the littlest started full day preschool. I couldn't find any more satisfaction staying home. There’s a stigma around being a stay at home mum, and society doesn’t talk about the loneliness, isolation, and loss of identity that sometimes accompanies this choice. These are real emotions. I will not lie that being a stay at home Mum is always fulfilling. Like any job, there's the highest of highs and lowest of lows.

The kids' junior years are also my prime working years. It's either now or never. I'll probably end up working in a fast food joint if I were to continue sitting in the comfort zone of staying home.

A job opportunity dangled below my nose 2 months ago, I took it on full time without much hesitation. It was time I had do something for myself. The job comes with the flexibility of time, which I'm grateful for. I'm glad to be back into the bigger society, working my mind with bigger opportunities and the healing to fill that empty nest syndrome.

Fast forward today, the eldest is already in the final year of primary school. The most important year with that grand PSLE battle, and I started a full time job. I'm not sure what's ahead, but in our years of having laid the foundation of home routines, it is without worries. I'm contented to have been with them in the large part of their growing years. The kids have grown, we have no more babies although we insist the youngest is still one. Our way of curbing with the pain of growing kids.

And no, there is no replacement a family can get to fill the job of a stay at home mum. I will double up because God made Mothers amazingly strong and awesomely capable in managing the fort.

 
Yes, weekends are so much more precious now


Friday, 14 May 2021

Getting the covid fatigue

Covid fatigue is the exhibiting symptoms of tiredness and exhaustiveness due to the many measures in placed that were very much different from a lifestyle we used to have. This new normal has been long running, a marathon that never seemed to end. 2020 bolted like a year that never existed, but the number in age moved. 2021 seemed promising, until it turned at the flip of a switch. Not very much impacted, but it feels like the race has no finishing line.

The kids are at the prime stages of growing up where many exciting milestones are not fully experienced. I am getting impatient with the progress and efforts of containing covid. It's no joy. 

The kids photos taken in school are all masked up. I can't watch the littlest do his swim classes like I did with the older two, the public pool is closed very strictly to its maximum capacity. I can't watch live performances of our preschooler like I did with his older two. The kids need their learning journey with schools. The kids need their school camps, assemblies and proper graduation ceremony. The attractions we decide to go last minute are no more accessible like before, advance booking is needed. Activities are capped to fastest fingers due to social distancing measures, meals are confined to time limit due to less seating arrangements in restaurants.

And from 8, it became 5 and now 2 can be gathered socially out. With dining areas closed. For our family of 5 who always move as a tribe, it's as good as staying home. And what about school run mamas who have to pick several kids at one go from school? That flouts the more than 2 gathering rule.

And then, we get the elearning fatigue if schools move to Home Based Learning. Not surprise that schools are always the last decision to halt after society. Or perhaps, it's nicer to phrase it by bringing forward the school holiday. 

The biggest let go will be travelling. It was the most valid reason in our busy days to get off work and routines to focus on family bonding. Travelling is now too vague and far to even think about.

The plans that were firmed became fluid and the exams ahead are uncertain. Sports lessons are moving back to online and so are their music lessons. It's back to what seemed like a circuit breaker, but milder. 

The fatigue of pandemic is hitting gradually hard, not so much for the kids who are mostly adapting, but for parents who are feeling shortchanged for the kids in the many many areas of lost opportunities. This of course is a parenting perception. Above and beyond, there are couples awaiting a grand wedding, there are social butterflies whose happiness is measured by socialising in groups and there are travel enthusiasts who are feeling totally imprisoned.

When can we ditch the masks for good? When can we walk the streets without worry? When can we do big playdates? And when can we travel like we did? When will the freedom we used to have make a come back? It doesn't seem something imaginable now. This truly is an era of a covid century that will make it to History books.

BUT. Like we always say, the world is our best teacher. There is a lesson in everything, and there is thankfulness in every situation. We are not in lack. We are intact as a family, we have peace in where we are and we feel safe even in midst of worries. We do want a life of normalcy back, patience may be running thin but at least we are running the marathon together. 

Being grounded means more time for the daughter to focus on her PSLE revision, and the boys... they will be happy doing more toy reviews. And of course, the fate of preschool operation is another uncertainty. 

More toy reviews ahead!

Emotional fatigue caused by covid is real and affects us all. I think it's important that we find things that make us and our family happy in a way or another. For some, it could be that extra piece of chocolate. Find that little joy in midst.

Better days ahead! 

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Staycation at Shangri-la with kids

We sprinkled some fun and excitement last March holiday by going on a staycation with Shangri-La. The one at Orange Grove road.

I'm not sure what will be your decision in booking a venue for staycation. For us, it will be coming across great deal. We managed to book a 2D1N deal on Lazada for $399 last December, but we're seeing it at $500 now though. So yeap, not sponsored, but sharing for the good benefits of many who will be staycation-ing during this pandemic when travel cannot be in plan. The deal we bought included both lunch and dinner at The Line restaurant, which we reckoned was a very attractive buy.  

Garden Wing Deluxe City View Room 
We were given a deluxe room at the Garden wing with city view and a private balcony. Very much pleased with the room set up that they added a roll in bed for us. We are 2 adults and 3 kids. And of course, they didn't very much approve 5 pax in a room. They suggested we get connecting rooms instead. We love staying cosy, so we did not. 

Deluxe room at Garden wing

Bathroom was spacious with a bathtub, standing shower and two basins. Six bottles of mineral water were given, along with two little packs of preserved snacks. The in room mini bar was empty, not sure why. Perhaps a good way to unsure uneaten snacks remain untouched for next guest. But I think it's good that the kids wouldn't be bugging to snack on this or that. And I was mildly disappointed that our room didn't come with the usual hotel's pen and notepad. We needed a pen to get on a treasure hunt game, and the notepad usually keeps the littlest occupied. 

 
Check-in
Check-in time stated was 3pm. We emailed a week before to request for early check-in and late check-out, but they could only accede the requests based on availability that very day itself. That left us wondering on what time we should be there. Having an indicative time will definitely help us better with the planning, rather than playing with luck. We chanced in at 12pm. Managed to get over the administrative part, but room was only ready at 2.15pm. We had lunch at The Lobby Lounge in between, where it serves local fare like chicken rice, fish soup, katong laksa etc at premium prices. If you are a frequent of Shangri-La, consider signing up for their Golden circle membership where you can accumulate points for every dine and stay. Not valid for deals. We redeemed our points for lunch, and was most satisfied that our bill came up to $1 for 4 main courses at The Lobby Lounge.
 
Welcome packs were given to the kids upon check in. And this delighted the kids much. Adults were given masks and alcohol wipes. It was a nice welcome for all. 
 
Kids welcome packs
 
 
Adults welcome packs

 
Activities
For a night booked, we were entitled to a session of play at buds, their indoor playground, as well as, a session of play at Splash Zone, their outdoor water playground. Buds session is at $18 per hour. Splash Zone is free, and limited to an hour session. It wasn't enough for the kids. I did try booking 2 sessions, but was declined. We managed to book 2 play sessions at buds though, on separate days. Happy kids, happy parents. 

The kids had a great time at Buds, with the slides, climbing structures, ball pits and creative rooms for music playing and painting.

Buds at Shangrila


Buds playground
 
Booking of these kids activities are only upon arrival. We emailed to check if we could pre-book before check-in, but there was no reply. Some hotels do pre-booking of kids activities and pool sessions before check-in, but policies varies. Booking of kids' activities can only be done on that very day itself with a booking site. The slot sessions indicated online were very much fully booked till our check-out time. We were upset for a moment, but was reminded that we can walk in to buds to check on the updated slots instead. And phew, that's where we secured buds and splash zone sessions for the kids. Do check the weather forecast when booking splash zone. 
 
Splash zone

Pirate ship at splash zone

Other hotel activities include a treasure hunt at our own time, own target. A hunt map is given upon check-in, you can start this hunting game while waiting for check-in. Redeem an ice-cream upon completion. The answer to their first question is fluid. So don't get too stuck on that. There are also baking, tie and dye activities which can be booked with additional fees. It's $10 for baking and $28 for tie and dye. We skipped both.

Do consider getting on some activities while waiting on room availability. Just so you can spend more time relaxing in the room instead of running in and out for activities. Badge making activity outside buds is free. Just walk-in.

Facilities 
Swimming pool consists of the swimmer and wading pool. Booking session isn't required but entry is based on first come first serve. We entered at about 9.45am smoothly, but had to leave at 10.25am for our splash zone session. The queue to the pool was insane when we left. Entry is only allowed based on a one in and one out when capacity is full. 
 
Queue to the pool
 
Being an early riser reaps benefits. And don't forget, breakfast may delay you a little. Noon to 3pm seems an off peak, when guests are in midst of checking in and out. And of course, that's the hottest time of the day. But sunshine is always better than rain when it comes to play. So if you don't mind the hot sun, consider dipping into the pool upon arrival until your room is ready, and you can whisk off to shower upon collecting your keys.
The orchid within the hotel's open

We very much enjoy the lush greenery garden within the hotel. Walking around was quite an adventure too.

Meals

We had both dinner and breakfast at The Line. It was ala carte buffet where everything you order will be served to your table. The spread was good and very much satisfying for our tummies. Breakfast did take them quite a while to serve, crowded morning I guess. And that gave us less time for the pool. Not included in our package, we had our next day lunch at Waterfall Ristorante Italiano, which serves southern Italian classics. Very great tasting, and the recommendations on their menu made choices easy.



Check-out
Check out time was at 12 noon. And nope, we didn't score a late check out. Even though we tried reasoning that we needed more shower time, as our splash zone session ends at 11.30am. Was politely declined and told that we could shower at the common bath area. Nice alternative, but not a compassionate and convenient option for us. We dealt with the time tight option of one bathroom. And phew, made it to surrender the keys, albeit 5 minutes late. We sent the man down to return the card keys, while I hurriedly pack through our stuff.

So yeap, it was a wonderful break from routines, and the hustle and bustle. Staycation is the new vacation. Not perpetually I hope. Trekking the globe is still where we hope to be getting back on.

Friday, 9 April 2021

A resin art party!

Here's the other part of Jazz's birthday celebration at home with her school friends. We hosted a resin art party with four of her friends. And her birthday party theme was, avocado! Not that she loves eating it, but she just loves it being nicely coloured. I guess. We didn't do much with the preparation, simply gathered whatever avocado we can find within the home as her decorative prop. It was also then that I realised her avocado collection is getting huge!


Avocado themed party

Epoxy resin is a two-component system consisting of resin and hardener. By mixing the two components, a chemical reaction takes place so that the liquid resin gradually hardens to a solid plastic. The result is a high-gloss and clear surface art. I bought the brand, ArtResin on Lazada. A popular brand of clear epoxy resin used by artists. It's non-toxic, but because it contains a small amount of Bisphenol A, it is recommended that you work in a well ventilated area with it. 

The art you can make out of resin is limitless. We didn't get too adventurous, we stuck to just using moulds to make little trays and coasters. I got most of the stuff from taobao, and below are the items and links used.

What you need for a resin party:

1. Epoxy resin and Harder (Lazada)
2. Gloves (Local pharmacy)
3. Moulds
4. Plastic cups
5. Wooden ice cream sticks
6. Colour pigment powder
7. Dried flowers
8. Weighing scale
 
Gloves are very much needed for resin play, because resin is stubborn to remove when it gets onto skin. Resin in Chinese is 水晶滴胶. You can do a search to find other more interesting tools for resin art. I bought the moulds, decorative stuffs from these 2 taobao links:

Materials needed

A variety of moulds

 Directions

1. Epoxy resin needs to be mixed in 1:1 ratio. The resin and harder have to be in equal portion before mixing. The plastic cups I bought did not come with measurement marks, it is best to weigh them equally on a weighing scale. If not, you will have to trust your eyes for the best estimated level mark, which can be a risky reliant. If the portions are not mixed equally well, the resin will not cure and harden well. 

2. Once the 2 components are mixed, use the wooden stick to stir the portion extremely well. Scrap the side of the cup to make sure it is well mixed. It is recommended to stir at least 3 minutes, but that could be lesser if the portion is small. You will have to gauge the amount of resin used from the mould size you are working with. 

3. After mixing, you may add in the coloured pigment powder. Adding too much color will get in the way of the resin curing and make it softer, so don't go generous on that. Slight tinting will do. Mix the colour well, and it's ready to go into the mould. If you are working on a big mould with ample depth, like a pencil holder, you may add the dried flowers in the mould before pouring the resin. If the mould is shallow, you may add the decorative elements after pouring the resin in the mould. Do remember that whatever you put within the mould can only be visible if the resin colour is light. You may leave it uncoloured too.

4. Set aside and allow it to cure up to at least 24 hours. 72 hours to be totally harden. 

Curing process
 

If the artwork is too soft or sticky to touch, which is most likely due to the unequal mix of resin and harder, you can try to salvage it by adding another well mixed layer over the affect area. Worst case, you may have to ditch it.

So yeap, resin art is one easy fun with endless creativity within! It kept the daughter and her friends very well occupied. 


Completed artwork

After some art fun, the girls did pinata, an avocado pinata of course! Shared the steps to DIY pinata in the son's birthday party post previously.  


Avocado pinata
 

And with much thanks to Sgtoysrock, the girls got to bring home a Real littles backpack (goodie bag) each. These micro bags contain tiny and cute usable stationery, with a range to collect. Hope the girls love it as much as Jazz! 


Real littles backpacks
 

Party planning isn't my forte, I find it stressful to be organising one, especially within the home. There are so many aspects to take care of. But occasions and milestones are moments that we can't recall once missed. It is better to create wonderful memories than letting it slide, perhaps this is one way we can show our support on their choice of friendships. And of course, we all have different ways of celebrating milestones. Some years we have it cosy within the family, and some special years with friends. 12th is special, isn't it? It a final primary school year.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Birthday Playdate at Play Nation

Planning a birthday party for 12 year olds can be quite a headache on activities and venue choices. The daughter was turning 12 and I felt so moved to want to do a little party for her, before she leaps onto 13 next year, where it will be a whole new milestone out of primary to secondary school. And parents' organised birthday parties will become a thing of the past. I'm building on her memory bank as much as I can before total independence sweeps her gradually away from my wings.

Jazz had 2 small parties, one at home with her school friends and one out, at Play Nation with her friends since babyhood. We considered various options before deciding that this venue was perfect for kids of their age. Play Nation is a games cafe that allows patrons to get on some fun with board games and game consoles. All completed with drinks, snacks and food! Free flow drinks and snacks, did I mention? 

Entrance of Play Nation Scape
 

Games they retail

 

Drinks and Snacks

 

Play Nation has a good variety of board games to choose from, as well as, console games such as Xbox, Switch and Wii-U. The console games list can be viewed by scanning a QR code, after which they informed the staff of their game choice/s, and the staff will get it set up! I left the kids all by themselves. Self-reminder, they are 12 years old. Fun is sometimes more crazy without parental supervision. They enjoyed, while I adjourned elsewhere for dinner with friends. 

 

Boardgame Choices
 

I booked Play Nation at Scape for 6 of them, but 1 friend couldn't make it last minute, so it was down to 5. They were given a partitioned room, which was almost like an exclusive room just for them. I do think their newest outlet at Tampines looks cooler and nicer though, but Scape is centrally located for her friends. No biggie, because they had so much fun regardless the venue. It was also most wonderful that there were 2 game consoles for the 5 of them. Everyone got to play throughout. Bring a jacket along, it is extremely cold in there.

 

Focused on gaming
 

Team boys

We took on the 3 hours play N dine package at $22.90++ per pax. It included 3 hours of board and console gaming, along with free flow drinks, snacks and one food choice. We booked from 7 to 10pm, so the kids had beef bolognese for dinner, which they said was tasty! They do have a good amount of food options, there is salmon teriyaki rice, fish and chips, chicken chop and pasta dishes, just to name a few. It basically solves my solution to a birthday playdate, with games, food and drinks all settled. Play out of home means I have no home mess to deal with. 

Outside food is not allowed in Play Nation, but I asked to bring a cake in and they allowed. I bought cupcakes as her birthday cake for easy handling. Making it easy for the kids to hold and savour, with no mess left for the staff. I came in at the last half hour to organise a cake singing and cutting session. A segment of the party which I'm clearly sure no one will take charge of when play is in. That was only parental involvement. Other than that, they were literally on their own. 

Cupcakes as cake

Thumbs up for Play Nation
 

Play Nation is a one stop, all-in-one party and playdate solution for tweenagers. Jazz was really grateful to have spent that evening with her friends at this games cafe. She told me, not once, but umpteen times that she wants to go back there to play! I think she is starting to enjoy the fun and companionship with her friends, while her parents sit out. Bleah. Oh well, I'm just glad that her friends and herself very much enjoyed this birthday playdate.

Stay wonderfully blessed, my darling! May you always be surrounded by the joy and love of your friends. 

 

PLAY NATION

PRINSEP
Opening Hours
Mon to Thu: 12 pm to 11 pm
Fri to Sat: 12 pm to 3 am
Sun: 12 pm to 10 pm
Contact: 6336 9578 
 
SCAPE
Opening Hours
Mon to Thu: 12 pm to 10 pm
Fri to Sat: 12 pm to1 am
Sun: 12 pm to 10 pm
Contact: 6634 3065

OTH (Our Tampines Hub)
Opening Hours
Mon to Thu: 11 am to 9 pm
Fri to Sat: 11 am to 12 am
Sun: 11 am to 10 pm
Contact: 6904 4885

 

Disclaimer: Sponsored post. All opinions and photos are solely ours based on our genuine experience.


Saturday, 20 March 2021

Gallop Extension at Singapore Botanic Gardens

It's been a long while since we visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the gardens that is the first UNESCO Heritage Site in Singapore. This March holiday, we visited its new feature, Gallop extension.

The Gallop Extension comprises of two conserved buildings that have been refurbished into the Botanical Art Gallery and Forest Discovery Centre @ OCBC Arboretum, the COMO Adventure Grove and Mingxin Rambler's Ridge. The art gallery and discovery centre are air-conditioned, so the best way to visit iss to get some crazy fun at COMO Adventure Grove before visiting the gallery and centre. 

COMO Adventure Grove
Lovely play garden nestled within the greens. When I first saw the welcoming giant fruit at a distance, I thought it was durian, as we moved on to other play section, I thought I saw many ang gu kuehs. What a truly Singapore play idea I thought! And of course, they were not what I had imagined them to be. They are cempedak and saga seeds. 
 
 
COMO Adventure Grove
 
Giant Cempedak
 

Doesn't this look a little like durian?

On a saga seed
 
Aren't they like durian and cempedak from a distance?! 

Kids can get on the warty giant fruit for a not so prickly walk, balance or roll on the saga seeds for some wobbly fun. And of course, swing, slide and climb on structures resembling the aerial roots of the Weeping Fig, or Ficus tree. There are two covered metal slides, probably the only sheltered area within and nearby. One slide is shorter and the other is longer. Kids will need to climb on ropes to get to the entrances of the slides, a higher and arduous climb lead to the longer slide. Our 4 year old did have some challenge trying to reach the higher slide entrance.

Was some problem solving moments for him though.
 
Roots everywhere

Slide fun

Needless to say, Js had most fun with this new found playground. Sweltering weather didn't bother them at all. Just remember to slap on sunscreen and bring gallons of water! 

There is a toilet nearby, up the climbing stairs towards one the of colonial houses, no. 7.  

Botanical Art Gallery 
The Botanical Art Gallery is housed within the second refurbished conserved building, Gallop House No. 7. It houses Singapore’s first permanent display of botanical art, where you will be able to see a selection of the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ collection that includes more than 2,000 botanical paintings, as well as hundreds of sketches, line drawings and photographs. The display will also showcase various art forms, from original watercolours and ink drawings to prints and printing blocks.
 
We missed visiting this, but we will at the next visit!

Gallop House No. 7
 

Forest Discovery Centre @ OCBC Arboretum 
If I can use an unconventional word to describe these colonial houses, I will say these black and white bungalows are handsome! Absolutely smart and good looking.

Gallop house no. 5 showcases Singapore’s forest ecosystems, and highlights the importance of conserving them. Through a series of interpretive and interactive displays, we learned about the Gardens’ historical role in conserving them. It was a great opportunity to know more about our topical rainforest, coastal and mangrove forests. Other highlights include a photographic installation of forest trees, family-friendly displays where we can know more about the common birds found locally, and videos featuring three distinctive forest habitats found in Singapore, and their unique flora and fauna. 

It isn't all just about plants and forests, but animal species too!

No. 5

Knowing the common birds in Singapore

Butterfly specimen

Exhibits

Listening attentively
 
photographic installation of forest trees

 
Mingxin Rambler's Ridge
For a little more adventure, we went on a mild hiking trail, descended the rocky steps and returned to the path where we came from. The trail is mostly sheltered by trees, so it was quite a cooling walk down. 

The ridge draws its inspiration from unique forest habitats on the tropical hills of Southeast Asia. Some of these environments, such as the Kerangas heath forests, are known for their harsh conditions, with poor soil and exposure to strong winds. As such, the plants that naturally occur in these landscapes have evolved fascinating adaptations.

We had a nice walk with it. 

Short trail

It's really wonderful to be having more outdoor playgrounds sprouting up. Our National park ministry did a great job in enticing more families to visit gardens and parks. Greenery and outdoor are always good for our little kids' eyes.

And don't forget to spend some time taking nice pictures within our beautiful gardens. 

Lovely garden we have

How to get there

TRAIN
Alight at Botanic Gardens station, walk towards Foliage Garden, towards Nassim gate visitor centre, then walk towards National Orchid Garden, head to the back and walk towards Gallop Extension. Alternatively, you may walk along Cluny Park Road and Tyersall Road to get there.
 
BUS
Buses: 7, 75, 77, 105, 106, 123, 174, 625
Stop: 13029 bef Tyersall Ave
Walk in via Tyersall Avenue

CAR
Park at the Learning Forest
It not a too long walk to Gallop extension

Opening Hours
 
COMO Adventure Grove: 7am to 7pm
Botanical Art Gallery: 9am to 6pm (Closed every last Thursday of the month)
Forest Discovery Centre @ OCBC Arboretum: 9am to 6pm (Closed every last Thursday of the month)
Mingxin Foundation Rambler's Ridge: 7am to 7pm

FREE admission for all

Thursday, 11 March 2021

A Minecraft Theme Party

Organised a Minecraft themed party for Jare's 10th birthday last month. A theme he requested for. He started gaming on Minecraft last December, which of course gaming is on hold with school resumed. Since we are still in phrase 3 of a pandemic, it was a small and cosy party we held with his classmates at our home. Not more than 8 guests. It is so important that the birthday star picks his own party guests. I had some of my friends over for his 5th birthday party 5 years ago, and he's still raking it up to date that half of the guests were my friends and not his. Ok, fine. I will not repeat. 

Back to his 10th party, most of the stuff were DIY since the group size was highly manageable. My only worry was how to keep the boys meaningfully occupied, rather than just a regular play date, where the boys would get on digital games the whole party. Mum woe of tween kids. 

But first, let me share some prep work done. I bought most of the party decorations and goodie bag contents from taobao. Minecraft in Chinese search is 我的世界. I'll drop the links at the end of this post. In addition to the contents, we are thankful to have SGToysRock delighting the kids with Mighty Beanz and Hot Wheels mini maker kitz toys. Which we used them as part of the party games! 
 

Mighty Beanz and Hot Wheels

Goodie Bag
Here's the goodie bag for each child. Pencil case, pen, pencil, correction tape and Mighty Beanz. No treats because we had a pinata, and we left the sugar in there.

Goodie Bag

 

Pinata  
With the help of my kids, we DIY-ed a pinata. I'm sure party kids are very much delighted with it. Here are steps to the easy making of a pinata.
 
Gather:
1 balloon
Newspapers 
Plain Flour 
Crepe paper or Paint

Steps:
1. Blow a balloon to a good size that you think will fit all your fillings. And of course, there's this size that a balloon can go before it bursts. We went for its maximum limit.
2. Cut newspapers into strips.
3. Mix one part water with one part flour to create paste.
4. Dip newspaper strip into paste, squeezing off excess paste. Apply to balloon.
5. Repeat Step 4, layering newspaper on until the balloon is covered three to four layers deep. Leave an opening at the top for fillings.
6. Let dry for at least 24 hours. Under the sun if possible.
7. Decorate with crepe paper or paint. Then pop the balloon and fill it with treats!

We used green and black crepe paper to create a character somewhat like that of minecraft. No, it's not a watermelon.


Layering the balloon with newspaper

 

Let dry for 24 hours


 
Decorate it!


Fill it!
 
And we used the foam swords purchased from Taobao as tools to hit the pinata! Violent played in a safe way.
 
Pinata time!
 
Games
Quiet games were needed to keep the boys down and entertained. 
 
1. Minecraft Bingo
I printed minecraft bingo slips from CatchMyParty. And this kept them occupied for about 10 minutes. Prepare some pencils for playing and of course, prizes for the first three winners. Or more!

Game tools

2. Hot Wheels Maker Kitz 
Proceeded the boys to build their movable cars with the Hot Wheels Maker Kitz from SGToysRock. We did a review previously too. This kept them really occupied for some time as the building up wasn't as easy as it seemed. I rendered help to some of them. It was also a showcase on the boys' patience and resilience. 
 
Building Hot Wheels
 
3. Mighty Beanz Stack Up
Jazz thought of this game. She told us that the Mighty Beanz could be stack up! So we made it into a game by challenging the boys to stack up as many as they can. The winner emerged with 5 beanz up! 
 
Stacked mighty beanz

It's evident. We don't need mega big and extensive ideas, or props to wow a party. This is one simple Minecraft party we pulled together without massive preparation. And I could tell the boys enjoyed themselves tremendously. Don't forget, kids are easy contenders. 10 year olds inclusive.

After games was lunch, I prepared a simple fare for the boys. Macaroni cheese, chicken wings and baked cauliflower. Fruit was easy, watermelon. Party food has to be easy to give you more time organising the rest. Dessert was none other than homemade birthday cake, made the previous day. I made Tiramisu in a trifle bowl. Omitted the alcohol as I can't be sending tipsy kids back to their parents! I'll get caught for serving alcohol to the under 18 too. The cake was really easy to make, shared the recipe here some time ago. And again kids will not fuss about cakes. They'll just sing the birthday song and eat! 
 
Tiramisu bowl

I embellished the cake with chocs and macaroons. It looked a little more commercial after that. Glad to have put together this party for the second born's 10th birthday. A 2 digit leap from nine. So much thoughts that I had to dedicate a post to him here
 
 
Happy 10th birthday, son!
 
I hope parties and play dates like these are some good memories he will keep in his memory bank!

Here are the shop links of what I've carted out from Taobao:

Taobao links: